Posted: 16 Sep 2011
Date Written: October 2011
The growing literature on ecosystem services suggests that these benefits are the direct or indirect contributions that ecosystems make to the well-being of human populations. Although the approach to valuing ecosystem services seems straightforward, in practice there are a number of challenges. The majority of ecosystem services are not marketed, and it is often difficult to determine how changes in ecosystem structure, functions, and processes influence the quantities and qualities of ecosystem service flows to people. Only when these difficulties are overcome is it possible to use existing valuation methods to assess the impact on human well-being that results from a change in ecosystem services. The example of wetland ecosystems and case studies from developing economies, the United States, and Europe are discussed to illustrate these issues involved in pricing nature.
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